Damon Suriani's Impressive Final Seasons with Gloucester Catholic and Brooklawn

by Marc Narducci | Aug 25, 2023
Damon Suriani's Impressive Final Seasons with Gloucester Catholic and Brooklawn
Damon Suriani’s summer was simply an extension of the spring, which meant plenty of clutch hits, big defensive plays and championships. Suriani is a recent Gloucester Catholic graduate, who was among the best catchers in the state. He helped Gloucester Catholic win four championships, then was a major factor in Brooklawn winning two more.

His baseball season finally ended when Brooklawn fell to League City, Texas, 4-1, in an American Legion semifinal game in Shelby, North Carolina that was televised on ESPNU. League City would win the American Legion championship the next night with a 1-0 win over Lincoln, Nebraska.

For Brooklawn (30-7), it ended yet another outstanding season for one of the best American Legion programs in the nation. This was the 17th World Series appearance for Brooklawn, but their first since 2015. Brooklawn has won four World Series titles, in 1991, 2001, 2013 and 2014. 
Earlier this summer, Brooklawn won its 31st state championship and its 19th regional title, claiming the Mid-Atlantic Regional title in Morgantown, West Virginia, that earned the team its World Series berth.

“The whole experience was crazy,” Suriani said by phone as he was settling into Barton College, A Division II school in North Carolina, where he will continue his education and baseball career. “Our coaches told us how great the experience would be and after finally getting there, after losing in the state championship the last two years, was a surreal moment. The stadium was always packed, and it was a great experience.”

The previous two years, Brooklawn lost to Allentown in the New Jersey state championship game and only the New Jersey state champion advanced to the regionals. 

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Brooklawn advanced to the World Series semifinal this year with a 10-4 win over Florence, South Carolina, which was 2-0 at that point. Suriani enjoyed a monster game going 4-for-4 with five RBI and two runs scored. He also made one of the top defensive plays of the tournament, catching a foul popup far behind home plate and then throwing out a runner at second base, who was attempting to tag up.

“It’s the best play I have ever made,” he said. “I don’t know why the runner tried to advance to second base.”

After the tournament, Suriani earned two awards. He captured the 2023 American Legion Baseball RBI Award for having the most RBI in the regional and World Series combined, 12. 

Suriani and teammate Joey Bogart, a second baseman, were also named to the American Legion All-Tournament team. Suriani batted .419 in the regionals and World Series while Bogart hit .478.

For Suriani, this was a continuation from high school when Gloucester Catholic earned four titles – the Tri-County Royal Division championship, the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic title and the NJSIAA South Jersey and state Non-Public B titles.

In the 11-2 Diamond Classic championship win over Delsea, Suriani went 4-for-4 with three doubles and four RBI. During the Ram’s 4-1 South Jersey Non-Public B championship win over Ranney, he went 3-for-3 with one RBI.

Coming up with clutch performances in the biggest situations has been the story of his career, especially his senior year, both with Gloucester Catholic and Brooklawn.

“Big games I enjoy playing and I feel I am able to handle the pressure and you play with a confident mindset,” said Suriani, who batted .463 with two home runs and 36 RBI as a senior at Gloucester Catholic. 

Since Brooklawn’s final game on Aug. 14, Suriani has been on the go. First, he had to make the 10-hour bus ride home from Shelby, NC to South Jersey. Then he turned around and had a drive of more than six hours to Barton College, which is located in Wilson, NC.

Class has begun and it won’t be long until Suriani is participating in fall ball for Barton. His goal is to make an immediate contribution to the team. 

For a few days, he will try to catch his breath, and possibly reflect on how much he and his teams accomplished over the past six months. Suriani likely won’t dwell too much on the past, but any time he does indeed think of his final seasons at Gloucester Catholic and Brooklawn, he will realize he has accumulated a lifetime full of memories over the past six months.
 


Author: Marc Narducci

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